New Miss Earth PH talks about biggest challenge in joining pageant

Shiela Reyes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 20 2018 01:36 PM

Karen Ibasco (right) passes on her crown to Celeste Cortesi, who will be hoping to win for the Philippines back-to-back titles in the international Miss Earth pageant. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Celeste Cortesi, the newly crowned Miss Earth Philippines, is grateful that her Filipina mother pushed her to pursue her dreams of becoming a beauty queen.

Speaking to ABS-CBN News after the coronation night at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, Cortesi said the credit goes to her mom who helped her in this journey every step of the way.

“My mom pushed me to participate in this pageant. My motivation is because my dream was to be here in the Philippines and to work here in the Philippines. I chose this pageant because it’s not only [about one’s] beauty,” she said.

However, it wasn’t an easy ride to victory for the the 20-year-old beauty who was born and raised in Rome.

“It’s my first time here in the Philippines and I went here without knowing the language,” she said. “It was really hard to be here. And English is also not comfortable for me.”

Nonetheless, Cortesi is determined to learn the Filipino language and to undergo more training to be able to represent the country better in the international pageant.

“I did my best [in this pageant]. Thank you so much for the trust and thank you to all the people who supported me every day,” she said. “I will learn. I also want to speak Tagalog. I’m just so happy now.”

When asked why she chose to join a pageant here instead of in Italy, Cortesi said: “My dream is to be here. I want to represent the Philippines. I want to stay here for work. This is the reason.”

Cortesi beat 41 other hopefuls in the pageant, succeeding Karen Ibasco, who won the overall Miss Earth title last year. 

According to her profile on the pageant's website, her advocacy centers around preserving trees. 

"I believe we should protect our urban fragile forest, because trees are life," she was quoted to have said.